21 February 2011

It’s a Long Way Down to the Place Where We Started From

It was our first real vacation in well over a year. A day in Heidelberg before heading back up to Frankfurt to visit our brother-in-law for his graduation concert! By the time we arrived at the Hotel Bayricher Hof (which was outstanding cause they were super nice and gave us a free upgrade!), we were completely exhausted and hungry from the trip, the majority of which was more waiting for connections and delayed trains, rather than traveling. But we made it, safe and sound!

Because I didn’t want to bother with any more vehicles, I convinced S. to walk the way from the Heidelberg Hbf to our hotel. The walk was about a mile (1.7km) and the cold were bearable, but what was tough was going past all of the nice restaurants on our way. It was pure torture from what I remember: Indian, Thai, Japanese, German, Japanese again. We had to stop by a little grocery store for some bottled water and were absolutely shocked by the price. ZOMG it was so cheap! I had to double check, just to be sure. By the time we got to the hotel, we really couldn’t refuse the “welcome drinks” that they offered us, and promptly went up, got dressed, and started our hunt for what we were really craving: typical, heavy, German food!

To our delight, 10 minutes of exploring brought us to a lovely place called the Perkeo. A German bar with food and old decor, just like the one from our dreams!

Seeing how it was a bit chilly out, we had glühwien, and ordered fried feta cheese and salad to start.

Dinner was bacon-wrapped wurst, mashed taters and sauerkraut for S. and a juicy steak with a giant lob of butter on top for me! We never made it to dessert, which was German chocolate cake, tempting us from being a glass display. Sadly…we had to skip it for fear of a heart attack, and search for it again another time.

S. and I awoke the next day, still full dinner, and ready to explore the town! I usually don’t pay much attention to the weather report, so I was curious to know what was waiting for us on the other side of the window curtains. I peeked out to find the city was full of life, teeming with hustle and bustle!

Some friends of ours had recommended a walking path called the Philosophenweg (Philosopher’s Walk), which had a lovely and popular ice cream shop waiting at the end for us. Other attractions of the town included museums, the old bridge, and the castle. We decided to aim for the castle first, and then do some philosophizing and gelatto later once the sky cleared up a little more.

One our way, we stopped for coffee and pastries. S. got a local favorite: a sweet bun of some sort with a salty bottom layer. From the size a lone, I thought that it’d keep her full at least an hour! After filling up, we made our way through the town and up towards the castle.

A store we found, called Unicorn, also sold uni uni corns!

We came across these a couple of times while walking about. They seem to be a local thing, called "schneeballen" (snowballs), and were as big as a fist. We told each other that we'd try them later, after ice cream maybe. =)

Our first clear view of the castle!

Here's what it used to look like in the 1600s:

We kinda guessed our way upwards from the street.

It was kinda funny. We kept running into the same Japanese tourist as we were walking around town all day! (She's in purple in the photo below).

Once at the top we had a nice view of the town and the Neckar River.

After soaking it in for a bit, we visited the pharmacy museum of Germany, and viewed the castle ruins. We also saw a giant wine barrel, but skipped the restaurant at the castle to so that we could really enjoy the ice cream and chocolate cake at the end of our walk!

Sun dials are so beautiful!

 What's S. looking at?
Drugs!!! (They looked like jelly beans)

A flying Gator!

More unicorns!

A giant soap dispenser? (jk)

A giant wine barrel! (nk)
This section looked a lot like ICO.

On our way abck down and to the other side of the river, we crossed Alle Brucke (Old Bridge) and headed our way up Schlangenweg (Snake Way).

We soon found out why it was called that. There were snakes everywhere! Sometimes it made us feel philosophical.

After the first turn, S. and I started feeling our age! The walls induced a bit of claustrophobia, while the incline and number of turns had us feeling like we were in Labyrinth without David Bowie and the monsters. A few turns later, and we were both singing “Climb Every Mountain.” S. was really about to throw in the towel but I kept her going with the sweat thoughts waiting for us at the end (and the downhill walk after we reach the top)! We took a few breaks (like in the picture above - where S. has busted out the cookies from the café), but eventually we made it!

Once at the top, it was just a leisurely stroll downhill. We spent most of the time being philosophical, but also making up haikus. Ice cream was coming, and we were getting closer and closer! When we got to the end though, bad news: gelato is closed during winter! It was the end of the world for S.

Not to fear, there’s got to be a classic bakery around somewhere. Off we went to look for a café. After a few blocks, we found none, and consulted the map and said to each other, “Hey, a zoological museum, let’s walk to the university and we’re sure to find some artsy cafés in the area!” 1.3 km of bare, treeless sidewalks and a couple of banks later, we found something promising. A sign of a nearby café perhaps?

When we got to the spot on the map where the museum should be, it wasn’t there either! “Well, there’s got to be a cantina or mensa here somewhere.” We walked around, pretending to be students. “Oh look! It says café! Time for to eat ourselves into a coma again! Yay vacation!”

Bad news! It was also closed! (No wonder the girl smiled at us as we walked up the stairs!) The snack machines only took student cards, and so things were looking grim. After getting out of the fake café, S.’s sixth sense kicked in and her intuition took us into one of the lecture halls where we found a convenience store!

We left with our loot, and then went searching for a place to sit and charge our batteries.

A look at the map showed us also saw how far we had walked (and a check on google maps later showed us just how incorrect the tourist map was at placing statues, museums and monuments). Up and down two hills and over and back across a river, we headed back to our hotel room to rest and get ready for dinner at Zum Roten Ochsen (The Red Ox) which was also recommended to us by a friend.

We told each other that we’d drink away our regrets and stuff our pie holes with twice the amount of food as the night before to make up for our lack of ice cream and chocolate cake! With that goal in mind, we headed out!

Here’s a look at the castle at night from the one of the rainy streets below on the way to the restaurant.

We had soup to start, along with the local brew. Sausage and saurkraut for S. and for me, schnitzel - stuffed with cheese AND bacon! The atmosphere was something else as well. The pianist played us a Japanese tune, and kept the place singing along all night to all sorts of tunes. He even played "I like Chopin" by Gazebo.

Check it out! This place is older than America!

Our stomachs full, we again had to skip dessert. It was time to call it a night, and head back to the place where we started from. In the end, we didn't really need the ice cream or cake after all. But still, we’re looking forward to coming back and trying out those giant pastries and continue our hunt for ice cream, chocolate cake, and wurst! Can’t wait!


  1. Lovely post and a cool video too! Glad you both had a nice vacation.

  2. Wow, looks like you guys had a great time! The city look wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hello Jallu and MattyB, thanks a lot for your comments- so nice to hear from you guys!

    Heidelberg really was a special town (although I was mostly distracted by the food all the time... )!

    This semester we are trying to take a mini vacation every month to take full advantage of where we are - stay tuned =)

  4. Thanks for posting the pictures. We love seeing your pictures. Eric and Lynn.

  5. Hello Eric and Lynn, thank you so much for visiting our blog! Knowing that you guys are looking at the website is a great motivation for us to keep posting. We love you and miss you!